Do you regard other freelancers in your niche as competitors or colleagues?
I’ve won some lucrative projects going in with a co-writer that I wouldn’t have secured on my own. Either the workload was too much for me to fit in with my other commitments, or the deadlines were too tight for one person to complete.
On one occasion (writing a big new website for a major building society), all we had to do was agree how we were going to divide the work and prove to the client that we could both write in the same style.
I’m currently pitching for ongoing project work – the potential client is a high-profile international organisation. I’m doing this in collaboration with two other people. If we get it, I will be writing case studies, another writer will be doing opinion/thought leadership pieces, and the third person will focus on producing videos based on those stories.
Individually, we wouldn’t be in the running but, as a trio, we stand a good chance.
A few words of advice on collaboration
If/when you do collaborate, here are a few bits of advice:
- Agree in writing how you will divide the work between you and what the deadlines are.
- Make sure everyone is always copied on all communication to the client, so you are all fully up to speed with what’s happening on the bits of the project you aren’t involved in directly.
- If you are the lead person and your collaborator(s) are invoicing you, make it very clear from the outset how much they will be earning, when to send in their invoices and when they can expect to be paid. If the client is late in paying, this will have to come out of your own cashflow – unless your collaborator(s) are happy to wait for payment until the client has paid you.
- If your collaborator(s) charge VAT and you don’t, you will have to take the hit. In the UK, with VAT at 20%, that’s quite a chunk of money. So, either arrange for your fellow freelancers to invoice the client directly or register for VAT yourself – then you can claim the tax back.
- Have a back up plan in case one of you falls ill/breaks their arm etc etc, and is unable to complete their side of the project.
With collaboration comes more opportunities
Collaboration also means you can team up with people who have complementary skills so you can offer your existing clients a wider service.
For example, as a web writer, I team up with web designers or with other writers who offer services that I don’t, such as writing speeches or white papers. And it’s a two-way street – I then get introduced to their clients.
What experience have you had in collaborating with other freelancers? Was it a good or a bad experience? Would love to hear.